Which Bearing Does Not Require Lubrication? Self-lubrication

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When it comes to mechanical systems, one crucial element that often goes unnoticed is the bearing. Bearings play a vital role in reducing friction and allowing smooth movement between two surfaces. While lubrication is commonly required to ensure their optimal performance and longevity, there is one type of bearing that breaks the mold. But, which bearing does not require lubrication?

In this blog, lubricationfaqs will explore the fascinating world of bearings and uncover the mysterious one that does not require any lubrication. So, stay tuned as we dive into this intriguing topic and unveil the secrets behind this unique bearing that defies the norm.

Despite the fact that grease is frequently linked to lubricants, handling bearings does not always necessitate unclean fingertips. Lubrication, on the other hand, essentially just refers to the act of lessening wear and friction between moving or frictional parts of a machine. These might either be traditional greases or so-called solid lubricants.

Fine particles or microscopic plates make up solid lubricants, which lessen friction between the surfaces that make up friction. PTFE (Teflon) or molybdenum sulphite, ceramic beads, or graphite are examples of common materials. In “liquid” lubricants, this is frequently a part. In plain bearings, they can also be handled in solid form.

What is Self-lubrication?

The ability of the bearing to transfer a very tiny amount of material to the mating surface defines a bearing as self-lubricating. A film is produced during the transfer process along the rail’s or shaft’s length, lubricating it and lowering friction. Comparing self-lubricating bearings to conventionally lubricated bearings, there are various benefits.

Self-lubricating bearings require no hazardous waste from lubricants, disposal, or cleanup prior to disposal, saving time and money on preventative maintenance. Self-lubricating guarantees that frictional forces on bearings and transmissions remain steady and does not require the addition of grease that might attract impurities that damage conventional bearings.

Which Bearing Does Not Require Lubrication?

Lever or clock bearings, for example, can be dry-run in applications where motion is slow. We advise using a corrosion-resistant material, such as stainless steel, to make bearings if they will be operated without lubrication. Standard steel bearings are covered in a small coat of protective oil before being packaged because they can rust when exposed to moisture.

For the majority of applications, lubrication creates a crucial thin coating between the contact points that helps to lower friction, distribute heat, and prevent corrosion on balls and races. If lubricants are not used in high-speed applications, a significant buildup of heat may occur, which could result in premature bearing failure.

However, lubricants come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and their appearance is not usually what you would expect. Examples include dry lubricants consisting of tungsten disulphide or molybdenum disulphide. For smooth operation and faster running speeds compared to unlubricated bearings, this dry coating is polished or sprayed onto the balls and races.

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Lubrication-Free Bearings

The same cannot be said for all lubricants. Lubrication is not often associated with oil in the groundwater or grimy hands. Plain bearings can be designed to integrate solid lubricants so that only a little amount of them leaks into the environment. For metal and fabric bushings, the solid lubricant is made up of a thin layer of PTFE or another resin with excellent gliding qualities.

Due to its sensitivity to mechanical stress, this layer has drawbacks. Solid lubricants may be incorporated or blended right into the plastic when making bearings. A consistent framework is produced in this way. An abrasive or slippery substance is present throughout the whole thickness of the wall.

Non-Self-Lubricating Systems are Common

Non-Self-Lubricating Systems are Common

Rolling element systems include rotating bearings (ball and roller), spherical linear bearings, and rolling element monorail concepts. Some sort of external lubrication is necessary for each of these systems to function. Grease is always needed because the roller’s metal-to-metal contact with the racetrack.

In the absence of this external lubricant, the ball or roller will start to make direct contact with the shaft or track material, causing wear and rust damage. By adding oil-impregnated seals to the ends of the bearing or housing, several manufacturers try to fix this flaw in the design. For bearing life, this strategy may have various advantages.

Bronze bearings that have been treated with light oils are very porous and contain the light oils. In ideal circumstances, this oil is attracted to the bearing surface, forming a lubricating layer between the bearing and the shaft.

Metallic Plug Graphite: When making bronze-type bearings, graphite is a popular lubricant since it is good and solid. In most cases, holes in the copper base material are filled with solid graphite plugs.

Teflon coating material: There are numerous techniques to cover bearing surfaces. It can be used to simply dust the bearing by mixing it with a powder. It’s possible that the substance that was sprayed sticks to the bearing surface. Or it can be a component of the grease or liquid compound used to coat the bearing. Any of these techniques results in the production of a very thin coating of lubricant, which quickly degrades and loses its effectiveness.

Oil-impregnated resin: In this case as well, mild oil is added to the basic substance to help lubricate the bearings. As a result, friction is initially decreased, but its effectiveness is eventually diminished by aging and quick lubricant consumption.


In conclusion, ceramic bearings are the type of bearings that do not require lubrication. This is due to their unique composition, which includes ceramic balls and races that have low friction properties. Ceramic bearings offer excellent performance in high-speed applications and environments where lubrication may not be easily achievable or sustainable. With their ability to operate without the need for constant lubrication, ceramic bearings provide a convenient and efficient solution for various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and medical.

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